Boxing: Margarito crushes Cotto in classic

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The Independent Online

Antonio Margarito put a crushing end to the bold plans of Miguel Cotto in Las Vegas on Saturday night. Margarito reduced the previously unbeaten Cotto to a bloody wreck in the 11th round of their World Boxing Association welterweight title fight at the MGM. In the weeks before the fight experts predicted a classic, a throwback to the sport's glorious past and that is exactly what the fight was.

During the last four years Cotto has been steadily groomed by the American promoter Bob Arum into one of the sport's most devastating, popular and avoided boxers. The Margarito fight was always a risk but the reward for Cotto included a fight against Oscar De La Hoya and a purse in the region of $25m (£12.6m).

However, nobody explained the plan to Margarito and this meant that he played his own part in Cotto's future by putting an end to both the Puerto Rican's unbeaten record and his immediate plans. "I knew if I kept the pressure on that he would not be happy and that is exactly what I did," said Margarito, who will not inherit Cotto's slot as the opponent in De La Hoya's last fight on 6 December. De La Hoya, you see, does not fight Mexicans because he would run the risk of losing a large majority of his fan base.

On Saturday night, Cotto, who had won all 32 of his previous fights, took control of round one when it was obvious that the fight was unlikely to last the full distance. In round two Margarito adjusted his feet and "The Fight", which was the promotional name given to the event, was most certainly on and living up to all of the publicity. Each of the boxers in turn had control and some of the exchanges were quite simply brilliant, but Margarito looked stronger and he started to force himself on Cotto.

From about round eight the Mexican was starting to force the Puerto Rican into mistakes. In round 10, with blood flowing freely from Cotto's mouth and nose, Margarito was ruthless in his pursuit and Cotto twice sank to his knees to avoid punishment. When he went down for the second time after two minutes and five seconds, a towel of surrender, something that nobody predicted, came fluttering in to end the fight.